Should you take acetaminophen during pregnancy? | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Should you take acetaminophen during pregnancy?

Recent concerns raised by scientists cause confusion for pregnant patients

During pregnancy, there are many guidelines for patients to follow, ranging from what to eat and what not to eat to how to exercise and what medications are safe to take. One of the medications that long has been deemed safe to take during pregnancy is acetaminophen.

But a recent statement by 13 scientists from around the globe raised concerns about acetaminophen and fetal development, causing many questions for pregnant patients.

“The very first thing and most important thing to emphasize is that there’s no need for patients or even recently pregnant patients to panic or have concern that they may have caused harm to their child by taking acetaminophen,” said Kristin E. Reeve, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recently published a consensus statement, agreeing that there is no connection between proper use of acetaminophen and fetal development.

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“Any medication taken during pregnancy should be discussed with the patient’s provider,” Dr. Reeve said. “We recommend that the medications be taken only when medically necessary, and taken at the lowest needed dose for the shortest needed duration of time.”

Acetaminophen, known often by its brand name Tylenol, long has been the only pain reliever considered safe during pregnancy. In addition to relieving pain, it is also helpful at reducing fever.

“Acetaminophen was and still remains the safest over-the-counter pain reliever that is available to patients in this country,” Dr. Reeve said. “The last thing I want is for pregnant patients to hear this news and become concerned and start taking another over-the-counter pain reliever during their pregnancy that could actually be more harmful than acetaminophen.”

The bottom line: There is no clear evidence that acetaminophen causes harm to a developing fetus. If you are pregnant, talk to your provider about any medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.


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